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Epic Fail...warning pity party vent. support, cake only please.

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
What am I supposed to be doing as a single parent. My kids always look like crap but they get to school on time. (its a ghetto school so no one is wearing designer clothes and matching socks and brushed hair is optional). i make their lunches most days (not today) and cook meals from scratch (mostly vegetarian which seems much harder than cooking meat. we had chicken tonight. really unhealthy chicken). I try to keep the house clean and laundry washed (fail. I wore dirty clothes to work today). Forgot to pick oldest up from school....Really, Am I expected to work a hard labor job all day and still be a soccer mom who brings home made cookies to church on the Sundays I teach their sunday school class? My xh seems to think this is all totally possible and maybe it is but I feel like I am drowning. I feel like since there is just me, exhausted me, some things just have to give. This track thing is killing me. She has to do it every day after school and one morning a week. except I need her to get her sisters ready and out the door in the mornings. She wants to quit and I want to let her but I live in constant fear of my xh taking me back to court to get more custody if I don't let him have his way. he thinks this whole divorce thing shouldn't effect them or their life style and I am the mom and I need to suck it up and be their driver/personal shopper/ providing them with every opportunity etc. (convenient for him since he doesn't have to do any of this and if it doesn't effect them he doesn't have to feel guilty about leaving us for another woman), I think this is our family and we are one for all and all for one and they just don't have the advantages of a two parent double income family and that sucks but thats life. He also thinks I am a bad mom for not calling the school and setting up their whole track thing for her. I still have no idea when meets are, whats expected of me, how long the season is but I think hey, she is in 8th grade, she needs to bring me this information. If she wants to do it bad enough she will be responsible enough to that. he thinks I am just being lazy. Oh thats right, what started all this was I was so tired after work I fell asleep abd forgot to pick her up. but we live less than a mile from school, but dd, I say this with love is lazy and called her daddy crying for a ride. told him mom wouldn't pick up the phone. ugh. she knows she is not supposed to call her dad to bail her out when she fails to plan. he always bails her out, calls me a bad mom for not jumping to attend to her and then she learns nothing. (really if she missed a couple of lunches she would stop forgetting her lunch box.)

Anyway, am I the only one who thinks that three kids to one single mom make sports and other time sucking activities out of the question? we have one bathroom. so when I get home at five we have 3 to 4 hours to get dinner (and real food is important to me. I cook for my family) on the table, homework done, find some cleanish clothes, take four showers, do chores, say prayers and get to bed. Where exactly am I supposed to fit in daily soccer/track/whatever his great idea practices and games? Am I a bad parent for not getting it? how do other people do it? fast food and late bedtimes? not an option. Also I don't get two days off in a row. ever. period. and I don't have personal days. and don't really get much vacation. Can't switch. I switched with a friend. one day. my kids haven't been to church in a month. too high a price. one day and we have had four weeks of chaos. I am not giving up my one day to sit idle at a track meat. there is laundry and cooking and gardening and church and a weeks worth of errands and chores to do. Am I a bad mom for HATING sports so much. I don't mind pick up games and individual athletic pursuits. Just organized city and school sports that are outside school hours.
post #2 of 33
Being a single mom sucks, and I only had one baby at the time I was a single mom. I can't imagine having to do it now that that baby is a 9th grader.

One thing I would like to suggest...is there ANY way you can see about a carpool set up with some of the other track moms? That's really about the only way that our family survives the daily after school practices for my dd's soccer. Practices that for some reason aren't immediately after school, so the kids come home, are home for an hour and a half and then have to be BACK at the school for practice, which lasts either an hour and a half or two hours, and then back home again...and we live a good 20 minute drive from the school. So, DH and I have set up a car pool with 3 other folks. It makes all of our lives about 1200 times easier. Even someone that you could just trade days with could help.

As to the track schedule (track is a fall sport for you guys?) have you checked the school website? Does the school have a website? (you said it was a ghetto school, I used to teach at a "ghetto" school, so I know often, they don't have a website) My daughter's soccer coach posts all the game schedule and info and such on the website, and it's available for printing. If not, while I agree that it's her responsibilty to get the info to you and that in 8th grade she should be capable of it, I think that a call to the coach/school to get some more info might just make your life easier rather than more difficult, because you could make some plans based off it.

How old are the other two kids? Is your 8th grader really going to bed at 9pm? Perhaps you might consider giving her a little bit more freedom to choose when she wants to go to bed. Or, perhaps consider just moving her bed time back a little. That's a pretty early bed time for a 12 or 13 year old. That might help you, because then she can help get the younger ones ready for bed without having to get herself ready till later. A couple other suggestions for your night time routine...if you are cooking dinner, are the kids doing their homework at that time? If not, that might help too, rather than scrambling to get it done after dinner.

Please know, none of that is posted in judgement, I am only trying to offer ideas to help. As I mentioned before, I was a single mom with a baby in the past and it sucked. I worked and went to school and had the little one, so I know all about the time crunch. Even now, while I am no longer single, DH is working full time, 40+ hours AND in school full time, so he's gone basically all day anyway. It really has been like adjusting to being a single mom all over again, only this time I have a teen and a 2 year old and am pg now. It really does suck to have to be the one to try to manage it ALL.
post #3 of 33
If her dad wants her to do this so much and is close enough to pick her up after school, why doesn't he take her to the practices and meets? He can drop her at your house when she's finished with practice and you can take care of the other two. There's nothing that says they HAVE to be together with one parent or the other; let him pick up the track meets and practices.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minxie View Post
If her dad wants her to do this so much and is close enough to pick her up after school, why doesn't he take her to the practices and meets? He can drop her at your house when she's finished with practice and you can take care of the other two. There's nothing that says they HAVE to be together with one parent or the other; let him pick up the track meets and practices.
I agree. Let Dad help more if he is willing. Also, unless your neighborhood is very bad, an 8th grader should be able to walk a mile home from school.

Nobody can do it all! You are correct to be choosing to do the things that are most important.
post #5 of 33
yeah, she is old enough to walk, ride her bike, arrange for a ride for practices and/or her dad can help out with activities.

is he a good parent? what are the reasons you do not want him to seek a greater percentage of time with the kids?

it sounds really tough. i feel like i have it easy right now while my boys are small and both at the same preschool/daycare, but even so, i have trouble keeping up. like, they really should have had a bath last night but they didn't, because we had to pile into the car and zip to the store for diapers because i didn't realize i was out (ds2 only wears it to bed, so i use 1/night). by the time we got home they were both whining and fussing so much we had to go straight to bed. it happens. (and i'm not a daily bath freak, but they had been in the sandbox yesterday so they kinda needed it . . . ) of course i could have had them hop in the shower with me this morning, but they were playing happily and i just wanted those five minutes alone, you know? bleh.

eta: you are not a bad mom for hating sports - i would hate a DAILY freaking activity outside of school hours, too. however if it's important to your dd, i do think she's old enough to figure out how to make it happen for herself. i don't think it should be forbidden. i think when they're younger it's okay to say no, we can't swing it, but she should be able to arrange a ride for herself imo.
post #6 of 33
Oh please...you're doing fine. I'd say that she can suck it up and he can suck it.
post #7 of 33
Honestly, I'm not a single mom, and I still can't manage what it would take to have my kids on a sports team. You're doing fine. If he wants her on the track team, he can take her. But since she wants to quit anyway, I say let her.
post #8 of 33
That's ridiculous. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a single mother you don't have many to spare. Don't feel one bit guilty about not wanting to do this!
post #9 of 33
i would say, if he wants to be involved and play shuttle service, let him. otherwise, since you are only one person, continue to do what you can and let go of the rest. all of us are doing our best. there's not reason to get bogged down with unnecessary guilt.
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
i think part of it is that I went from being a stay at home homeschooling mother (with my kids 24/7) to getting to see them a couple hours a day and every other weekend. I am not keen on giving that up. School sports seem ok because it doesn't effect my time with the two little ones. But the whole soccer thing is insanity. it is your whole life for 9 months out of the year. and no one in the family sees anyone else in the family. Also church is really a priority for us. especially since the kids only get to go every other Sunday. So there is no way they are doing something like a game or a meet on any day we have church. If I trump the game for church my xh will have a hissy fit though. And coordinating anything with him feels like more trouble than it is worth most days. It is easier to just not do anything. And there is always the threat of him taking me back to court and leaving me with even less time with my kids.

oh and track is in spring, cross country is in the fall. Its all just running to me. for a girl who hates to run. But she wants to be in sports. even though she hates to move. I never wanted to be in sports so I don't get it.
post #11 of 33
I heard you mention your ex's opinion of your parenting several times in your original post. Him complaining about you not meeting his standards of mothering must really burn. If he met someone else and left you to parent on your own, how does he have any kind of say in how you manage your home and parent the kids? I mean, who cares what he thinks? I think you should laugh in his face if he criticizes you. What- he's going to take you to court and get custody of the kids because you let your dd quit track? Because you prioritize nutritious meals and adequate sleep over a high commitment sport? Because you want to teach your dd to take responsibility for her own actions by not rescuing her every time she forgets her lunch? What kind of judge is going to listen to him?
post #12 of 33


Some of us lose our minds, quite literally.

Best of luck to you figuring it out. I hope their dad steps up to the plate since he has so many expectations. Wish I could offer you advice, but the only thing I can think of is to tell X to put a sock in it and tell dd that if she wants to be an athlete, fine, but can she figure out a sport that's more conducive to your family life? Or find a friend that will give her a ride?
Quote:
What kind of judge is going to listen to him?
You'd be surprised at the absolutely crazy things a judge can think, say, and order to happen.
post #13 of 33
So...your dd wants to quit track, and you want to let her, but you're making her stay, because you're concerned your ex will take you back to court??

Your ex is delusional. To think that the divorce won't/shouldn't affect the kids, while he's not doing any of the work, is cracked.

I really have nothing useful to say and most of what I'm thinking is in violation of the UA. Let your dd quit track. And, don't beat yourself up. I was only a single mom for a year, and while it was much easier than trying to function with the deadweight of my ex around my neck, it was still brutal...and I only had one child. Cut yourself some slack!
post #14 of 33
I REALLY feel your pain. I went from a stay at home mom with little ones--and loved life--to suddenly alone, kids in school and now I have to work in a job I hate.
I just want to die sometimes.

I have no wonderful words of wisdom--but I have similar priorities to you (and I am in a similar boat):
my dd is a violinist--so it's music, not soccer...
but try these on for size:

When you are sitting at the soccer meet or whatever, take a little notebook and record what you CAN get done in a day on one side and what you MUST get done on the other. Number the lists (1,2,3, etc) and compare--take the things off the bottom of the list and leave them for the weekends you are alone without the kids.

Also--re: meals---cook and freeze in large quantities when you have those free weekends. I have a friend (wish he were single now that I am single) who has a garden and he spends lots of time making spagetti sauce out of his tomatoes and canning his other things. Then just add fresh pasta.
You can do that. The kids won't look back in ten years and remember how many times they had the same meal.

Lay your clothes out ahead of time--and same with the kids. I do this every night. It save me trouble.

Get into a routine and cut back on things that you don't need.

Get a carpool for soccer--or simply ask some of the moms to help--you need it, ask for it. Let them know the situation and that you'd be happy to give them some homemade spagetti sauce or something--child care on your free weekends.

Finally, get that 8th grader to get off her duff and help out. If she leaves her lunch--too bad--she needs to suck up and you and your x need to be on the same page about that.

hang in there--I'm in the same boat and I just want to curl up into a ball and die.
And right now I hate life--and if it weren't for the kids, I think I'd probably off myself. No kidding. I feel no sense or purpose in living--a job I hate, no one who loves me--no pity party--just the truth. Of course, BECAUSE I DO HAVE MY KIDS I will keep myself together for their sake, but honestly, at this point in my life--mid life, a crap job even with my advanced degree, and no love in my life--and distant friends--I just can't believe I am here and wish I weren't many many times throughout the course of a day.
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack or whatever--just wanted you to know that I get it and I wish I didn't. I wouldn't wish this he11 on my worst enemy.
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
GranoLLLy-girl, after my little pity fest up there this might not seem helpful but it does get better. Really it does. (((hugs)))

Part of my inability to get crap done is that I never ever have two days off in a row. I get Tuesdays and Friday when he has the kids and Sunday when I have the kids.

Thanks for all the support guys. Even if he can't win in court he can still take me and that is time and money I am already short on. One more thing to do ya know. Since he is self employed he has all the time in the world and a totally flexible schedule. He really thinks his lifestyle is available to everyone. That all you have to do is search the want ads for a job that suits your needs.

As for convincing him not to bail her out every time she calls him whining....His mom was still doing his laundry until the day we got married. They are total bailer outers and still buy things for their older kids...houses, cars, college, back to college etc...these "kids" are in their 40s. Is there any guess why they can't figure it out how to support themselves (they do not have children)?

Anyway, I am feeling better about life today. Even as a a stay at home homeschooling mom I still couldn't figure out where people found time to live the soccer mom life style. Guess I just don't get it. or the appeal of it. which makes it hard for me to find a way to make it work. I am at peace being a family who doesn't do all that.

And I need to stop listening to my ex. good grief. not having to listen to his crap....thats why I divorced him in the first place. (well that and his girlfriend...)
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
What am I supposed to be doing as a single parent. My kids always look like crap but they get to school on time. (its a ghetto school so no one is wearing designer clothes and matching socks and brushed hair is optional). i make their lunches most days (not today) and cook meals from scratch (mostly vegetarian which seems much harder than cooking meat. we had chicken tonight. really unhealthy chicken). I try to keep the house clean and laundry washed (fail. I wore dirty clothes to work today). Forgot to pick oldest up from school....Really, Am I expected to work a hard labor job all day and still be a soccer mom who brings home made cookies to church on the Sundays I teach their sunday school class? My xh seems to think this is all totally possible and maybe it is but I feel like I am drowning. I feel like since there is just me, exhausted me, some things just have to give. This track thing is killing me. She has to do it every day after school and one morning a week. except I need her to get her sisters ready and out the door in the mornings. She wants to quit and I want to let her but I live in constant fear of my xh taking me back to court to get more custody if I don't let him have his way. he thinks this whole divorce thing shouldn't effect them or their life style and I am the mom and I need to suck it up and be their driver/personal shopper/ providing them with every opportunity etc. (convenient for him since he doesn't have to do any of this and if it doesn't effect them he doesn't have to feel guilty about leaving us for another woman), I think this is our family and we are one for all and all for one and they just don't have the advantages of a two parent double income family and that sucks but thats life. He also thinks I am a bad mom for not calling the school and setting up their whole track thing for her. I still have no idea when meets are, whats expected of me, how long the season is but I think hey, she is in 8th grade, she needs to bring me this information. If she wants to do it bad enough she will be responsible enough to that. he thinks I am just being lazy. Oh thats right, what started all this was I was so tired after work I fell asleep abd forgot to pick her up. but we live less than a mile from school, but dd, I say this with love is lazy and called her daddy crying for a ride. told him mom wouldn't pick up the phone. ugh. she knows she is not supposed to call her dad to bail her out when she fails to plan. he always bails her out, calls me a bad mom for not jumping to attend to her and then she learns nothing. (really if she missed a couple of lunches she would stop forgetting her lunch box.)

Anyway, am I the only one who thinks that three kids to one single mom make sports and other time sucking activities out of the question? we have one bathroom. so when I get home at five we have 3 to 4 hours to get dinner (and real food is important to me. I cook for my family) on the table, homework done, find some cleanish clothes, take four showers, do chores, say prayers and get to bed. Where exactly am I supposed to fit in daily soccer/track/whatever his great idea practices and games? Am I a bad parent for not getting it? how do other people do it? fast food and late bedtimes? not an option. Also I don't get two days off in a row. ever. period. and I don't have personal days. and don't really get much vacation. Can't switch. I switched with a friend. one day. my kids haven't been to church in a month. too high a price. one day and we have had four weeks of chaos. I am not giving up my one day to sit idle at a track meat. there is laundry and cooking and gardening and church and a weeks worth of errands and chores to do. Am I a bad mom for HATING sports so much. I don't mind pick up games and individual athletic pursuits. Just organized city and school sports that are outside school hours.
I think you are an amazing mama! You cook from scratch, get their schoowork and baths done and get them to church. Sports is not necessary to life. If she wanted it, she would be motivated. If it is important to him then he gets to rearrange his life to make it happen, period. I don't know why you don't simply tell him that if he wants sports to happen then he does all the driving to and from events and purchasing of the supplies/equip. Just tell him sports is not part of your family goals for the kids and that he lost the right to tell you what kind of mother you are when he left. Don't engage. Let your daughter quit. Their is nothing wrong with kids learning to help. My son and dd do their own laundry(have since age 10) and have gotten the younger three breakfast every day except Sunday since age 8. (Simple fruit breads and fruit, or oatmeal or cereal and fruit type options). They help me with the bath/showering, by drying off little ones and helping them get dressed. My dd helps with her sister's hair as she can. It is part of being a family. He is not part of your family, so he does not get to direct the children's time on your time. Make you one day off a family day. Do things you can do together as a family. And that can be sports (take a soccer or basketball to the park, or run together and then do a 1K fun run every now and again) or whatever you value (I would choose arts events myself). Focus on what you are doing right not what he thinks. Clearly he is a man of poor character. I long ago decided that people I don't have respect for do not get to dictate my own self respect!
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
I long ago decided that people I don't have respect for do not get to dictate my own self respect!
Love this! SO many single mamas could use this as their motto!
post #18 of 33
I just got to say, if he is so concerned about their lives not changing, why doesn't he give you enough money so you can actually stay home with them? It sounds crazy that he left you and expects everything to be the same but how can it possibly be when you need to now go out to work?!

I also agree that if it's so important for him that your DD does track and he has such a flexible schedule, then he should be taking her to practices. Also, I'd tell your daughter if she wants to do track she can run to and from school everyday as part of her training.

I'm really angry for you right now! Though, part of that might be PMS!
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
He thinks I should be able to work 40 hours on my feet and still be everywhere all the time. He is an extrovert so staying home is not an option for him. He was NEVER home (literally. He would come home around 3AM and be gone by 9AM unless I had to work. I worked 10PM to 6AM though so he never saw the girls) and doesn't understand how wiped out this introvert is after a day working in retail. He also doesn't value bedtime and lets the girls stay up late. So his days really do have an extra 2 to 4 hours in them. the two days every other week he sees them and a couple of hours on Thursday. He can also clear those four days a month and make sure he has nothing going on. I am always a day behind. I don't have two weeks child free to get everything in order so I can focus on the kids. Hey yeah! I don't and he does. who couldn't do that?
post #20 of 33
OP, he sounds like he's perpetuating the things from your marriage that continue to be triggers for you.....But the reality is, single parenting life is very different!

If we're into confessions here, then here goes--
Dd never has her hair brushed. It's washed a couple times a week and combed out then, but she's not digging the hairbrush at present. Do the teachers judge her at school? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. What was for dinner tonight? Cookies, lunch meat, avocados, leftover soup, lettuce and rice cakes. Well-balanced, home-made graze food. It took about 5 minutes to get in the graze bowls. My idea of ideal? Nope. Everyone happy and nutritioned? Yep. Clean house? Nope. Do I care? Nope. It's 9:30 and dd is still in her fairy princess fort and happy. Good bedtime? Nope. Everyone happy? Yep. Will tomorrow a.m. suck? nope. Why? Banana in the car, no hairbrush. Kid up and gone in 10 minutes. Ideal? no. Passable? yep. Happy? yep. As soon as I was able to make my own standards (I CAN do it, I CHOOSE not to sometimes) and could use my middle finger to my own hard-wired perfectionism, I found happy. You can too. When others judge me (and I know they do) I think, hmmmm, do I want to have a hard life? That's what they offer with their perfect ways. No way, Jose. We get er done and have fun. Way better.

If your dd wants to be in sports, it's cool to let her off the hook now and again for the morning events. She's a great help to you getting the others ready the rest of the days, but she probably needs to feel like a kid sometimes too. You might owe her a morning off, no? If she's talking about quitting, it might be to save the family the hassle of the loss of her care--that's pretty heavy for a teen. (coming from someone who gave up a lot to be the second-mom at home ---and resented her own mom for it)
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